Monday, 31 January 2005

Quiet days in London

Usually when I come south, I go flying about, this time, I'm mostly just hanging out, dinner with Anna, lovely and vibrant chat, lunch with Sherry, watching films with Stephen, and reading Neruda, and Satchidanada's commentary on the Yoga Sutra's of Patanjali, which is undoing the knots of my inner world. I cannot stress enough how important this book is. It is so practical, and given the time of year, it answers many questions for me, and big ones at that. For the last two years. I have read so many things looking for basic answers, every kind of philosophy and truth, partly for work, but mostly because i have more questions as I get older. Satchidananda's book somehow for me is bringing all that stuff together in a way that I can know it in my soul, not just in my deliberations

lots of music these last few days:
Zagler and Evans - in the year 2525
Led Zep - III
current 93 - soft black stars
Tori Amos - Under the pink
Gary Numan - are friends electric

Thursday, 27 January 2005


almost all together again, the 'and She Was' cast come together to run a day of workshops in Milton Keynes with a group of quite tricky kids.


I leave the flat at 5.45 to meet Xan and Sherry to drive in to work, to early to talk. We're all cold...Talk about being artists and how to survive this government.

Tuesday, 25 January 2005


All day in a school in Bradford so I'm very tired, 30 9 year olds for a day of poetry madness, I've had a bit of time away from school workshops so this one drains me a bit, I'm good when I'm in the swing. We had great fun all the same.


I seem to spend so much time trying to get windows XP to work properly. I do most stuff on the Mac but a couple of things are better on the PC, soulseek (which has stopped working,) soundforge, and audiomulch, there are no Mac versions of these otherwise I'd just give Microsoft's stupid operating system up for good.


The valley is asserting its darkness today, I need someone to put a bomb under my ass to get me to move. It really is no place to live.


Made some nice upgrades to the book page of my website, and Ripped a few things for my iPod...such is life

music today:
Johnny and Mary - Robert Palmer
Subdivisions - Rush
Six Pieces - The Enid

Monday, 24 January 2005

Desk Rhythms

Back from Paris, and first day back at the desk, these are becoming rarer as I'm having to be away a bit more these days, and for bigger chunks of time. I did keep my journal whilst away, but its in handwritten form so I may record it and put it up as a podcast or audioblog soon, though from wednesday I'm away in London for a week.


My story 'A Photo of my father...' which appears in the collection FourFathers is out now from the ROUTE website,

A tiny poem I wrote for a children's collection is out on 4th Feb in a book from MacMillan called 'Masala'


A cold and very clear morning I buy fruit and veg and the way back from getting my mail from the PO BOX, the street is filthy from the builders, the flat conversion rumbles on, no wonder I feel like a prisoner in this town, the cheek of the builders is beyond belief, its as if we who live here were in their way, this is our street, and we do have a right to work, and not carry their muck home under our shoes.


Today its been hard to get a rhythm going for the day, end up spending most of the day on the phone organising this weeks workshops, trying to plan stuff in for June for a couple of Schools projects, and all the while i'm itching to get on with poetry as i've been writing a great deal whilst away, and am in the groove. sometimes admin really gets in the way.

music today

plaid - Mbuki Mvuki


Current 93 - Soft Black Stars

Monday, 17 January 2005


Meeting at BBC this morning, about doing something poetic on their website as part of the new Residency, reflecting on 'ODES' whilst in the bath this morning too, would like to do a volume around this form possible leaning towards elegy.


Just heard on Frost yesterday that fool prince Harry von Battenberg was at a party themed around 'natives and colonials' when he wore his nazi insignia, at least the boy isn't forgetting his roots, like we all see to do with this embarrassing antique of a family, still natives and colonials are their bread and butter and caviar and dog food. The delegation of holocaust survivors due to visit Elizabeth von Battenberg should decline their invitations, like the poets did with the Bushes (shrubs?) a while back.


Music so far today: The Enid - Ondine

Friday, 14 January 2005

Re Write

Back to writing at last. Wrote a piece based on 'Horace' the Roman poet. And also began a new piece of prose so many ideas lately that my mind has been quite blocked, not knowing which to write first. The answer: just write something.


Cold day in the north, get my hat and shoes back that I'd left in Ledbury, whilst in a tiz.


get a full nights sleep for the first time in weeks

music - Throbbing Gristle

Thursday, 13 January 2005

Meeting at Commonword re New residency, followed by a very funny photoshoot in Albert Square, wearing my wonderful brocade jacket, a pink wig and a scary mask, variously.


mooched in Manchester....soulsucking shopping attempt to find some new music, but nothing going on...Freezing cold...

Music: Chillout in Paris

Tuesday, 11 January 2005

Goodbye Sheila

You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

written 1981
David Harkins

Saturday, 8 January 2005

i Rip Therefore... i Am

I have given in to an iPod, am in the middle of the phenomena commonly known as the weekend rip, its 3.45 pm an I'm not dressed yet.


currently reading Horace's odes, wonderful stuff, I get very excited by books, a girl on the tube was reading Ulysses the other day, and I was thrilled to my boots.


workwise I'm in Diary hell, and that is with an agent. Will have real news of what is happening over the next while soon, Got a great quote regarding my work from the head of literature for Scottish Arts, it on my website if you care to see.


Sheila's funeral is coming up soon, have sorted out where I'm staying, I've not been at my best since the news, though spent a lovely few days in London seeing Stephen and Xanthe.

Music for today: Genesis - The lamb

I have laptop bun on my leg from the heat of all this ripping

Saturday, 1 January 2005


Deeply sad news today that my dear friend Sheila Staunton has died. She was 62 and had had cancer of the stomach for the last couple of years, she was such a trooper. I met her when I began working with Ledbury Festival, and stayed with her when ever I was working there or just down in that part of the world, she volunteered to help out so she would put traveling poets up in her wonderful big house. We hit it off from the start. She taught me how to drink whisky, I recommended poetry to her. She was my surrogate mum, my own mother being deeply abusive, I would turn to Sheila when there was no one else, and she in her loving way would tell me what a silly bugger I was being. She had been a rock through the very difficult times in the recent past, and great fun throughout even though she was dying. She was a great lover of black labradors and I'm happy to say her gorgeous dog 'Bramble' has a good home. Her funeral is on the 11th, I will try to write something appropriate; the words rock, dogs, whisky and good humour are all hers. I don't know what else to write as I have only just got off the phone with Sheila's sister who rang to tell me, as everyone knew how fond of each other we were. I don't think it will register until after the funeral, so I'll put her name on my shrine and light a candle, raise a prayer and a large one of the good stuff. As I've said before, we seem to be saddled with the god of death and loss, it is how we live in the face of these things that make us. Aristotle says that the proof of a good person are the works they have produced that are in accordance with the actions of their soul, Sheila's work was her friends and the children she taught when she was a teacher....Soul work indeed.